There are few places in Los Angeles to satisfy the hunger of a native Chicagoan. We like our dogs foot-long, our chili meat-packed, and our Italian beef sopping in greasy juices. But when it comes to deep dish pizza, there is one saving grace here in L.A. to satiate the Midwestern hunger: Masa of Echo Park.
Any Chicagoan can tell you what’s at the heart of a true deep dish pizza: a massively thick cornmeal-based crust, chewy and just a bit soft on the outside, with a golden, ever-so crunchy outer layer, and barely crumbly enough to fall to pieces just when you smash it into your mouth. Masa owner Rob Rowe, a Chicago native himself, has got the formula down. And he’s perfected the layering of ooey mozzarella cheese and chunky tomato sauce to a tee. The deep dish pizzas are so hefty you feel that you can’t eat more than one slice; but the flavor is so damn good that you keep going anyways.
You’d think that Masa has been around for decades. The pizza is that good, and the space inside the restaurant has that long-lived, eaten-in vibe. That’s because for the last 80-some years, the building itself has been used as a bakery for Dutch, Italian, and Cuban owners. And the same rotating oven that’s been there since the ‘30s is still in use today, baking up the deep dish pizzas that Rowe is so masterful at crafting.
It’s not all deep dish at Masa. Thin crust pizzas are also served, and they’re just as good. Honorary names like the Cerro Gordo, a roasted garlic and shallot pizza served atop a classic marinara base, show respect to the local community. If you’re not looking for a meal that ends with a change from skinny jeans to sweat pants, this is the part of the menu to peruse. Other very notable options at Masa are the pastas (try the signature gnocchi), paninis, and Italian appetizers.
If you’re heading to Masa for the deep dish, give yourself at least an hour for the pizza to get to you. Order a carafe of house red wine for the wait … but don’t fill up on the warm, freshly baked bread. You’ll need to save all the appetite you can for the pizza.
1800 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026